Lore:Clavicus Vile

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"You think you lose, you die, and that's the end. It's not." – Clavicus Vile[1]

Clavicus Vile is the Daedric Prince whose sphere is the granting of power and wishes through ritual invocations and pacts.[2] Vile has a companion named Barbas. While capable of selective shapeshifting, the form it assumes most of the time is that of a dog. Vile himself is depicted as a small jovial fellow with horns protruding from his forehead. He is aptly described as a Daedra who likes souls for the sake of having them.

Vile's enemy is Ebonarm and his summoning day is the New Life Festival. The relic Bittercup is associated with the Prince.[3] Vile is famous (or perhaps infamous) for his widespread meddling in mortal affairs and in the past has worked through mortal representatives to gain what he desires. It is possible, though by no means certain, that Clavicus Vile assisted Jagar Tharn in his temporary procurement of the Imperial throne. Clavicus Vile purportedly granted the Cyrodiil Vampyrum Order the ability to blend into mortal society undetected.[4]

Not all of Vile's machinations are necessarily insidious; he often rewards followers who, at his direction, eliminate threats to the general public. However, he is certainly self-serving. When Cyrus the Redguard came to him seeking his sister Iszara's soul, Vile kindly gave him an opportunity to have it—the two gambled, Vile wagering the soul of Iszara, and Cyrus wagering his own.

Umbriel, the floating island, is said to be a piece of Oblivion from Vile's realm, torn away by Vuhon and his new ingenium.


Barbas is the Hound of Clavicus Vile. He is a shapeshifting Daedra, although he most commonly takes on the form of a dog or Skaafin. Barbas acts as a repository for around half of Vile's power, though behaves as his loyal servant rather than equal, often pining for his approval to little avail. According to Vile, he likes being a dog—as well as many other things—on sunny days. "When he's like this, I think he's somewhere else. It's all quite significant, of course... But who knows what it means." Although Vile is always depicted along with Barbas, the Prince often grows tired of him and abandons him. While Barbas seems to be subservient to Clavicus Vile, he also often warns people against Vile's plots, suggesting he has some discretion and free will. He sometimes takes the form of a musically talented scamp merchant named Creeper.



The Bittercup, or the Bitter Cup, is an artifact sacred to Clavicus Vile, the Daedric Prince of Bargains. It is prized by the Daedra Lord's followers.

The Bittercup was lost for many years, until it was discovered in 3E 427 in the ancient tower of Ald Redaynia on an island in Sheogorad. The cup was recovered by the Nerevarine circa 3E 427. Gentleman Jim Stacey wished to use it to bribe Eydis Fire-Eye, the corrupt leader of the Fighters Guild in Balmora, although it is unknown if the cup was given to Eydis.

Masque of Clavicus Vile[edit]

The Masque of Clavicus Vile (also known as The Masque of Clavicus) is a helm which makes the wearer more popular wherever he or she might go. Much like other Daedra and their artifacts, Clavicus seems to retain ultimate control of the Masque and may recall it without warning.

The best known story of the Masque tells the tale of Avalea, a noblewoman of some renown. As a young girl, she was grossly disfigured by a spiteful servant. Avalea made a dark deal with Clavicus Vile and received the Masque in return. Though the Masque did not change her looks, suddenly she had the respect and admiration of everyone. A year and a day after her marriage to a well connected baron, Clavicus Vile reclaimed the Masque. Although pregnant with his child, Avalea was banished from the Baron's household. Twenty one years and one day later, Avalea's daughter claimed her vengeance by slaying the Baron.

The Hero of Daggerfall received the Masque in exchange for assassinating a rogue werewolf. A decade or two later, in 3E 427, the Masque was in the hands of Sorkvild the Raven, a Nord sorcerer who had been terrorizing the village of Dagon Fel in Morrowind. The Nerevarine purportedly claimed it from Sorkvild's corpse. At the time of the Oblivion Crisis several years later, the Masque was offered up by Clavicus to the Champion of Cyrodiil in exchange for finding and returning the sword Umbra. The last known time Vile offered up the Masque, it was to the Last Dragonborn two hundred years later.


The Umbra Sword is a Daedric artifact designed with the sole purpose of the entrapment of souls. The ancient witch Naenra Waerr created the sword at the request of Clavicus Vile, who wanted the sword as a tool of mischief which would send him souls from the mortal realm. Naenra created the sword, but it was unstable, requiring Vile to give the witch a piece of his power to be imbued in the sword in order to stabilize it. However, Naenra (sometimes accredited with being Sheogorath in disguise) supposedly tricked him, as the piece of Vile's power imbued in the sword became a sentient being which called itself Umbra. Naenra was executed for her evil creation, but not before she hid the sword. The sword took on a life of its own, remaining hidden until a worthy wielder was found. Umbra then slowly takes control of the wielder. The Umbra Sword has the ability to change shape, but it is always in the form of a bladed weapon. It has been reported as a black and silver claymore, a jet black longsword and as a black sword emblazoned with red markings. The sword is also known to have the ability to absorb the health and stamina of those it strikes.

The Rueful Axe[edit]

The Rueful Axe is a Daedric artifact created by the Daedric Prince Clavicus Vile. It takes the form of a large iron battleaxe engraved with images of werewolves, although it is actually made of ebony. The axe is very heavy, and has a wicked blade that looks sharp enough to cut through a god. It is enchanted to magically fatigue anyone that it strikes.

The axe was created by Vile for Sebastian Lort, a powerful Breton conjurer. Sebastian's daughter was a worshipper of Hircine, and was cursed with lycanthropy. Sebastian prayed to Vile to cure his daughter, and, in response, the Prince gave him the axe, giving the mage a means of "curing" his daughter by slaying her (which was no cure at all as Hircine still claims the souls of lycanthropes).

Sometime after the end of the Great War, around 4E 180, the former member of the Blades, the Warrior, came across the axe in their journey. The method of acquisition of it is conflicted, however. Some claim that it was obtained from the plane of Oblivion known as The Abyss, while others believe it was looted from a chest obtained from a conflicted location.

In 4E 201, Vile tasked the Last Dragonborn with retrieving the axe from Sebastian, who was residing in a cave named Rimerock Burrow in Haafingar, Skyrim. In return, the Dragonborn requested that Vile would forgive Barbas, whom he had banished to Tamriel. Vile gave the Dragonborn the option of keeping the Rueful Axe and using it to slay Barbas and temporarily vanquish him to the Void, or going through with the original deal, in which Vile would take the axe and Barbas in return for the Masque of Clavicus Vile. It is unknown which option the Last Dragonborn chose.


Feyfolken is a supposed artifact of Clavicus Vile, which is only known from a series of historical fiction books. It is a quill enchanted with the soul of a daedric servant of Clavicus Vile named Feyfolken, at the request of Thaurbad, a sage for the Temple of Auri-El.[5] It transfigures the writing of the user into scripture of unparalleled quality.[6] The trade-off of wielding such an item is that the quill manipulates the thoughts of its holder. In the case of Thaurbad, he was driven to suicide, even writing notes to whomever would discover his body.[7]

Fields of Regret[edit]

The Fields of Regret are a realm of Oblivion, created and ruled over by Clavicus Vile, the Daedric Prince of Wishes. The realm appears as a tranquil countryside, dotted with majestic cities of glass and ornate buildings and populated by Skaafin. It contains dense forests, lakes, and mountains, with floating golden metals and stone spirals filling the landscape. The city of Umbriel was once a part of the realm, but was eventually severed and came to rest in the Realm of the Hist.



  1. ^ Dialogue in Redguard
  2. ^ The Book of Daedra
  3. ^ Gentleman Jim Stacey's dialogue in Morrowind.
  4. ^ Manifesto Cyrodiil Vampyrum
  5. ^ Feyfolken IWaughin Jarth
  6. ^ Feyfolken IIWaughin Jarth
  7. ^ Feyfolken IIIWaughin Jarth

See Also[edit]